Tips to Improve or Maintain Your Credit Score
Your credit score is an important indicator of your overall financial health. In addition to being used by lenders, it is also looked at by insurance companies, potential employers and landlords. So, what can you do to make sure your credit score leaves a favorable impression?
Take Action If your credit score needs improvement, remember the basics: pay your bills on time, keep balances low and take out new credit only when you really need it. Another way to bring your score up is to pay down balances on credit cards. Closing accounts will not bring your score up and may actually lower it because it will appear that you are closer to maxing out your available credit. For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s web site at www.ftc.gov, then click on “Credit & Loans” on the right side of the home page.
Review Your Credit Report A good place to start is by requesting a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. Carefully review your report and report any errors such as accounts that are not yours, payments that are shown as late that were on time, or debts that have been paid off that show as outstanding.
Beware of Identity Theft Scams - Phishing, Vishing & Smishing
Identity thieves are utilizing technology to convince victims to divulge their personal information via email, phone and text messages.
- Phishing uses 'spoofed' emails and fraudulent websites designed to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account user names, passwords, and Social Security numbers.
- Vishing, (Voice phishing) is the voice counterpart to phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a Web site, an e-mail message asks the user to make a telephone call. The call triggers a voice response system that asks for the user's card number or other personal or financial information.
- Smishing (SMS phishing) is the mobile phone version of phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a website, a text message is sent to the user's cell phone or other mobile device with some ploy to click on a link. The link causes a Trojan to be installed in the cell phone or other mobile device which can be used to collect your personal information.
Be Careful of These Types of Messages
Identity thieves may claim to be someone from your credit union or another financial institution.
A typical scam via email, text message or over the phone may use these types of ploys:
- Lures you in by offering to give you a gift card or monetary reward for participating in a “survey.” This survey may be via a website that looks legitimate.
- Scares you by threatening to close your account, says your account has already been closed, or that they are checking on possible fraudulent transactions. Then, they request personal information so they can “fix” it for you.
- Requests that you “confirm” certain personal or account information so they can re-activate your account.
At Tulare Federal, the security of your personal and financial information is top priority. Please remember that we will never ask for personal identity information via phone, email, or text message. If you receive a suspicious email, text message or phone call like the ones described above, DO NOT give out any information, and call or come into a Tulare Federal branch office immediately.